The 9 Best Hotels in Costa Rica
Lovers of adventure, nature, and wildlife have long made a beeline for Costa Rica's miles of shoreline and acres of untouched rain forest. From a hilltop jungle lodge to a surfer-chic beachfront resort, these are the best hotels in Costa Rica—all just a few hours from the U.S.
Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica
When Four Seasons plants a property in earthy, nature-loving Costa Rica, you can expect it'll be all about casual luxury. True to the Four Seasons experience, guests are treated to top-notch service and some of the best hotel views in the game, thanks to its hilltop perch overlooking the Gulf of Papagayo and Culebra Bay. After settling in to your terraced room, suite, or villa with private infinity pool (honestly, any one of the 175 rooms will do), it's time to choose your own adventure: play a round of golf at the property’s 18-hole course, spend the day horseback riding, get treated to a bamboo massage at the spa, or recline waterside by one of the four pools with chilled towels delivered straight to your chaise.
The Springs Resort & Spa at Arenal
It may have played host to a “Bachelor” episode and a very public Bey and Jay couple’s retreat, but the Springs Resort & Spa at Arenal still feels like a find. That's probably because getting here (which requires an hours-long ride on unpaved road or helicopter in) is an adventure in itself, or the fact that the property's volcano-facing hillside setting looks (and feels) like miles from civilization. As the name suggests, thermal hot springs pools are the biggest draw here, and there are 28 of them, all feeding one another as they cascade down towards Club Rio—the resort’s outdoor adventure center where you can go river tubing, horseback riding, or spot sloths and toucans at the wildlife preserve. The food and views at international fine dining restaurant Las Ventanas are excellent, but it's just as easy to stick to your guest room—all outfitted with lofty cathedral ceilings, local furniture, and spacious terraces featuring hammocks and dead-on volcano views.
RELATED: 9 Off-the-Grid Tropical Escapes
Oxygen Jungle Villas
Adventure seekers keen on a more intimate, boutique hotel experience will want to consider the adults-only Oxygen Jungle Villas. Each of the 12 Balinese-style villas, surrounded by rain forest in Uvita, in southwestern Costa Rica, are entirely enclosed in glass—so you truly feel like you’re living in the wild, especially when surrounding howler monkeys become your morning alarm clock. Beyond basking on your canopied bed, Uvita offers countless outdoor activities from hiking to whale watching to scuba diving. But the most luxurious activity of all might be the chance to unplug: the absence of phones and room service, not to mention the tranquil infinity pool lined with Buddha statues, all help you reach your inner Zen.
Casa Chameleon Hotel at Las Catalinas
The newest property from Casa Chameleon is all about the swoon-worthy views of the Guanacaste coast (especially from the saltwater pool, one of the best in all of Costa Rica). The focus at this adults-only retreat is on wellness and sustainability, from the morning chia bowls and oats to repurposed teak wood throughout the property. Those seeking privacy will find it in any one of the hotel’s 21 minimalist villas, each with its own zero-edge pool. After mountain biking the miles of surrounding trails or surfing the swells, catch a killer sunset during dinner at the open-air terrace restaurant.
Gaia Hotel and Reserve
With a range of rooms and villa options, the sleek and modern Gaia Hotel and Reserve, in the Manuel Antonio rain forest, can be paradise at a mix of price points. Two of the property’s best assets are its multi-tiered pool and swim-up bar (where you can order a coconut margarita or three) as well as its wellness program, which covers everything from yoga to healthy eating at La Luna. The Terra Spa also embraces local products like coconut, coffee, and sugar, which are incorporated into various treatments. Don't miss a trip to nearby Manuel Antonio National Park, where the powdery beaches stretch for miles and the forest is lush with wildlife including sloths and several species of monkey.
El Mangroove, Autograph Collection
If you’re looking to hit the beach as quickly as possible, El Mangroove, just 20 minutes from Liberia airport on Papagayo Bay's Playa Panama, is a good bet. With colorful hanging chairs and quirky local art, this is boho-chic at its best: think 85 rustic-cool suites, a lengthy 130-foot pool, and prime beachfront, with the ocean just a short walk away. The property's upscale Makoko is the place to go for elevated meat- and seafood-centric dishes like 24-hour marinated flank steak and roasted king sea bass, while more casual Matiss serves up comfort food specialties like burgers and ceviche alongside creative cocktails from a master mixologist.
Andaz Papagayo Resort
There’s no mistaking you’re in the jungle at Andaz’s first Latin American property on the Peninsula Papagayo, where guests are serenaded by howler monkeys at dusk every night. Local architect Ronald Zurcher took “pura vida”—a ubiquitous Costa Rican saying and life motto—to heart when he designed this modern, eco-chic property, which takes cues from the surrounding environment. A blend of contemporary and organic elements (think tons of wood and woven textiles) make up the luxe but laid-back feel of its 153 rooms, three restaurants, and two infinity pools—all set on 28 pristine oceanfront acres.
While many Costa Rican properties enjoy a jungle setting set back from the ocean, Florblanca is unique. Its 11 earth-toned, standalone villas are right on Santa Teresa Beach on the Nicoya Peninsula, one of the country’s most popular surfing spots. Here, it's all about the chill surfer lifestyle with a high-class twist: lounging in hammocks by the sand, sipping cocktails by the free-form pool, napping in your canopied bed. While Florblanca channels rustic luxury, it's still geared towards healthful living, from the daily yoga and pilates classes to clean cuisine that focuses on local ingredients at Nectar.
RELATED: The World's Top 10 Yoga Retreats
Kura Design Villas
Kura Design Villas is like the Apple of hotels. Situated in Uvita overlooking the coastline of Bahia Balena, this six-bungalow micro property is chic, modern, and sexy, making the place feel more like a posh home decked out in teak wood and ample glass. Highlights include a sleek, saltwater infinity pool with an underwater sound system, tropical cuisine featuring ingredients plucked from the property’s onsite garden, and the tranquil Spa Sha. JS Tip: try the house cocktail, made from a blend of passion fruit, coconut crème, mint, and Cacique, a locally made sugar cane liquor.
- What to Pack for Costa Rica: 21 Must-Have Items
- 11 Warm-Weather Vacations to Take This Winter
- 8 All-Inclusive Resorts with Life-Changing Spas